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Tributes paid to former Stamford School headmaster

Tributes have been paid to a former Stamford School headmaster who has died.

John Hale passed away on Monday last week (January 18) after contracting coronavirus while in a hospice with dementia. He was 80.

John was the second master and then the headmaster at Stamford School for 15 years.

John Hale, former Stamford School headmaster
John Hale, former Stamford School headmaster

His son Edward said: “He got on well with both pupils and teachers.

"We’ve had floods of lovely messages since he passed away about his spirit in the teacher’s common room. He was the life and soul of the place.”

John was born on January 5, 1941, and grew up in the Welsh mining town of Abertillery before going on to gain a BSc in civil engineering.

He spent four years stationed in Cyprus after receiving a commission into the Royal Engineers where he was Squadron Second-in-Command responsible for administration.

During this time he also ran evening classes for families and young soldiers, which inspired him to take up teaching after he left the army.

John’s first teaching position was at Bedford Modern School where he taught mathematics before joining Stamford School 15 years later as the second master.

John found himself in the deep end during his first term at Stamford School when the headmaster at the time, Geoffrey Timm, was taken ill and he had to stand in.

When John preached in the school chapel on a Sunday morning, Geoffrey’s wife felt his sermon was too short.However, it set the template for John’s speeches in assembly when he became headmaster in 1997, as he liked to keep them simple as ‘pupils lose interest if the assembly is over-long’.

He left Stamford School in 2000 and took a job at Oundle School for a short time before retiring as teaching girls for thefirst time was a ‘culture shock’.

John and his wife Anne, who died in 2014, married in 1965 after being introduced by army colleagues.

The pair, who lived in Adelaide Street for many years, had three children, Katherine, Edward and Andrew, and four grandchildren, Luke, Nathan, Ben and Emily.

“He was a very loving and tolerant dad,” said Edward.

“He was still quite disciplinary because of his army background, our clothes would have to be tidy and our hair cut.”

John was also founder and president of the Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley, on the committee of friends of Stamford Hospital and captain of Burghley Park Golf club.

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